Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Collapsing Colonies

Another very hot afternoon finds me inside waiting to see if Miss Flossy, our mama rabbit, is going to give birth again. She may have possibly been contaminated by Bugsy exactly 28 days ago, so I prepared an indoor hutch and nesting box for her, just incase she explodes with little baby Bugsies. Since there's not a lot to do inside, I was hoping that I might get to watch Vanishing of the Bees this afternoon, but it wasn't available for streaming on Netflix, so I watched Colony: The Endangered World of Bees instead. It was an interesting documentary, but doesn't give a whole lot of answers to the questions that we have now about CCD.  The film came out in 2009, and was probably filmed when beekeepers were just starting to raise the issue. One startling thing I learned was that beekeepers have known of this problem for about 20 years, but they weren't willing to talk about it for fear of being dubbed as bad beekeepers. You can read more about this in the article for Vanishing of the Bees, where there was a live Q & A forum, and also a trailer for the film as well. So Colony is like a documentary of the problem, but it sounds as though Vanishing of the Bees offers solutions. It's next in line in my disk queue, so I look forward to seeing it.

One thing that made me very happy to read in the Q & A article is that civilian backyard hive projects are doing good for the bees. Of course, like the film says, it's better to have 60,000 people with one backyard hive each, than to have one beekeeper with 60,000 hives, because it encourages genetic diversity. So watch the documentary and get inspired to keep a hive!

Oh, and if you have a swarm in your yard, for crying out loud, don't spray it! Catch it and put it in a hive! In the future, Lee and I are planning to keep an empty nuc hive on hand for such occasions. Call a beekeeper if you don't know how to capture it yourself. Spread the word to other people not to spray stray swarms. We need those bees! I got word from my mom recently about an almond farmer she knows who called out the local pest control service to exterminate a swarm. I cringed when I heard about it and then told her in an exasperated voice,"why didn't you have him call me!?" You would think that an almond farmer would know better!?